By Emelia Worcester

        The Hitler Youth were to Hitler and the Nazi Party the future of Germany. Hitlerís dream of "A Thousand-Year Reich" could only be made possible through its youth. "The future of the German nation depends on its youth, and the German youth shall have to be prepared for its future duties," Hitler said.
        Hitler knew that young people wanted recognition. They were energetic, full of life, and had a strong love for Germany. Hitler recognized these qualities and made it part of his plan to control the future world. He planned to mold Germanyís youth into a force that he controlled. Hitlerís direct and personal involvement became a great inspiration for the German youth.

Hitler greeting a child

        Hitler said "I begin with the young. We older ones are used up. We are rotten to the marrow. We are cowardly and sentimental. We are bearing the burden of a humiliating past, and have in our blood the dull recollection of serfdom and servility. But my magnificent youngsters! Are there any finer ones in the world? Look at these young men and boys! What material! With them, I can make a New World. This is the heroic stage of youth. Out of it will come the creative man, the man-god,"

Adolf Hitler

        In the 1920ís the Germanyís youth were involved in many organizations. The most popular was the Wandervogel, which engaged in sports. But in 1926, the Youth Group organization leaders were invited to attended a convention held by the Nazi Party on July 4th. They agreed to form a Nazi sponsored youth group called "The Hitler Youth" or "HJ."

HJ Member practicing throwing grenades

        German youths liked the HJ because they though it gave them a chance to have their voices heard.

A member of the Hitler Jugend
(From the Movie: "Swing Kids")

        Membership in the HJ was required by all young people by March of 1939. Children were torn away from parents and sent to houses and orphanages. If parents tried to keep their children out of the HJ, they had to go to prison.
        The boys learned to respect the Nazi Party and to live by the Nazi Primer (the official handbook of the HJ). They were taught that the Aryan race was superior to all others. In the Nazi Primer, it said "when considering bodily form, the HJ have to take into account above all things, size and shape of body, skull, color of hair, the eyes and the skin, as well as the texture of the hair." to determine how they were superior.
        In 1932, just under 107,956 youths were enrolled in the HJ. By the end of 1939, over 8,000,000 were enrolled.

HJ being instructed in class
(From the Movie: "Swing Kids")

        Hitler said, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future!" Children could join this program as young as 6 years of age. At 10 years, they graduated into the Jungvolk. They had to swear an oath saying that they will give their lives to Hitler and Germany. At 15 they were in the HJ.
        When they entered the HJ, they were given a choice of entering certain divisions that interested them. You could enter the Fllieger-HJ (the flying youth), or the Motor-HJ (the motor or mechanical youth), the Marine-HJ (navy), or the Waffen-SS (weapons and protection squad). Signal, medical and musical units could also be chosen from. If they didnít join these, they could always become join the SS, where they learned to techniques of violence and the use of weapons. This, they were taught, was especially useful in dealing with Jews or subhumans.

Fllieger HJ working on model airplanes

        Boys were obligated to stay in the HJ until 18, and then they were advised to enter the army, or forced to enter labor service.
        Not all youths became HJ. There were two resistant groups called the "Edelweiss Pirates" and the "Swing Kids." The Edelweiss Pirates met on street corners and had a great hatred for HJ. They attacked the HJ every chance they got. They loved their independence, which was resisted by the HJ. There were also the Swing Kids. They loved listening and dancing to swing music, although it was forbidden. They met in nightclubs and with their pockets full of cash, they wore the newest styles of clothes from Britain and America.

Rival group of Swing Kids
(From the Movie: "Swing Kids")

        The Nazi youth groups were used as propagandists, reinforcements, and warriors. There wasnít enough military and secret police to control all the Germany people, so the HJ were used. When the Allied forces invaded Germany at the end of the war, they were faced with units of HJ soldiers. The allies didnít want to kill the young kids, but they had to because of the blood thirsty attitudes of the brainwashed HJ youths. Boys as young as ten were fighting on the front lines. Fifteen-year-old boys were commanding troops of younger kids!

HJ at the front lines

        The youth scattered after the war. Eventually, new German Youth Groups were put together, but the youths lives werenít controlled by Hitler or Nazi propaganda anymore, but their own desires.


"Hitler Youth- the Future of Germany" @, 4/19/00

"The History Place - Hitler Youth" @, 4/19/00

"Hitler Historical Museum" @, 4/19/00

"Swing Kids" @, 4/19/00

Picture Credits:

Picture #1 - "Hitler greeting child" from:

Picture #2 - "Adolf Hitler" from:

Picture #3 - "Practicing throwing grenades" from:

Picture #4 - "A member of the Hitler Jugend" from:

Picture #5 - "HJ being instructed in class" from:

Picture #6 - "Flleiger HJ working on model airplanes" from:

Picture #7 - "Rival group of Swing Kids" from:

Picture #8 - "HJ at front lines" from: